SheridanElementary School

Senator Pat Browne Tours Sheridan Elementary Mindfulness Program

Senator Pat Browne Tours Sheridan Elementary Mindfulness Program
Posted on 11/22/2019
On Thursday, November 14, Sheridan Elementary School welcomed Senator Pat Browne for a tour of the district’s trauma-informed mindfulness education program. The Senator was joined by Superintendent Parker and Prabha Sinha, founder of the Pratyush Sinha Foundation who has partnered with ASD to provide mindfulness education to K-5 classrooms in ASD elementary schools. Developing partnerships between ASD & community health organizations extends beyond physical health and into mental health with groups like the Pratyush Sinha Foundation. 

“As ASD works towards becoming a restorative district and implementing Restorative Practices, teaching mindfulness supports the overall goal of creating a safe and healthy learning environment where students are respected and valued as individuals,” said Thomas Parker, Superintendent of Allentown School District. “This collaborative partnership allows us to begin supporting our youngest and most impressionable students.” 

Senator Browne has been a driving force behind several laws that increases student safety and improve schools throughout Pennsylvania through trauma-informed approaches to education. 
Browne authored SB200, incorporated into Act 44 of 2018, which requires Pennsylvania Schools to incorporate trauma informed approaches into their curriculum.

“School districts and education professionals need to take into account the experiences and circumstances that students are dealing with, in order to achieve better inside and outside the classroom results,” Senator Browne said. “Initiatives, such as the Allentown School District’s Mindfulness Program, are doing just that by equipping children and teachers with the necessary tools and skillset to better deal with these traumas and experiences, and improve long-term outcomes.”
Senator Browne had secured $500,000 for the expansion of the Allentown School District’s Mindfulness Program to all 15 elementary schools. 

Trauma informed mindfulness aims to help students process emotions and experiences in a way that frees them from the fight/flight/freeze modes and fosters development of executive functioning skills. At the elementary level, intervention tactics allow for the development of emotional and self-regulation skills, which leads to long term positive outcomes and success. 

Through this program, ASD teachers are also receiving support to develop their mindfulness practice for self-care and learn ways to incorporate mindfulness practices as part of their classroom methods rituals.  During the classroom tour, Senator Browne and Superintendent Parker witnessed students practicing mindfulness exercises and mindful movement in the classroom setting – right at their own desks. 

“We are so fortunate to have our entire student body participate in weekly mindfulness training. In our classrooms, we have seen firsthand how students are learning strategies to address the variety of emotions they feel each day,” said Lisa Lesko, principal of Sheridan Elementary School.  “Our children come to us with complex histories and many have experienced traumatic circumstances. Using mindfulness equips them with the tools to self-regulate and shows them how they can have control over how they respond to their feelings. This is a critical skill that will empower them to have control over their lives not just in school, but anywhere they go.”